It is more than disturbing to see how much of our media has been deceiving the American public regarding the war between Israel and Hamas. On the front page, we see pictures of destroyed Gaza buildings and parents running to safety with their children; but we look hard and at many pages before we see a picture of Israeli children running frantically to bomb shelters as the missiles continue to fly from Gaza further into Israel.
And now we have been learning that some or many of those pictures of the Gaza victims may not be real. Images are being doctored to falsify the extent of human suffering and agony, even as the people of Gaza are living amidst terror and frightening violence.
I write these words on Wednesday. I don’t know what will happen between today and Friday. But I know that Prime Minister Netanyahu faces a painful choice. There is the option of sending in Israeli troops, young boys, to find and destroy the weapons that are intended for use against Israel, whether now, or in the coming years. In so doing, young Israeli boys will no doubt lose their lives, and for Israel, that is a horrible price to pay. And there is the issue of “innocent” Palestinian civilians with whom Israel is not at war. Israel is at war with Hamas which has led its people to despair and hatred, rather than building a viable society and nation. Israel does not want to kill these people, and as Jews, even in war, we strive to maintain our humanity and to place the greatest value upon all human lives.
But as Prime Minister, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first responsibility is to protect his people, and help bring about a more secure time for the people of Israel. And to those ends, Hamas may force him to respond in a way that is brutal and painful for both sides of this conflict. Let the world understand and appreciate that our war is not with the Palestinian people, and that this is not a case of “Jewish aggression.” This is a case of a democratic country wanting to protect its people, and wanting to survive.
How do you fight an enemy that hides its weapons in mosques, schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings? Yes, it’s hard to be a Jew in this brutal and confused world. Not so much because there are those who would destroy us if they could, but because we seek to hold on to the values and ideals that have always defined who we are and for what we stand as Jewish people.
Rabbi David Greenberg